tv Edward Snowden Revelations Panel CSPAN April 5, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
so for that reason we think the judgment alone should be reversed. >> thank you, counsel. the case is submitted. we have more live discussion about journalism and national security with the journalists who received nsa files from edward snowden. in the wheezy and i will republican senator elbert guillory rates the obama administration. after that, michael lomax on the united negro college fund. glenn greenwald, laura poitras, and others appeared at the sources and secrets conference in march. they have not returned to the
united states since the snowden story broke because they fear arrest or subpoena. this is 45 minutes. >> hello, please take your seats. and welcome back. this next event, i promise, is going to be interesting. it's a skyped interview on the snowden revelations, and it involves actually four skypes. that's a miracle of modern technology and it will either work or not work. it's very tricky. so somebody may go down, somebody may have a time delay, which is happening with one of our three guests. i guess it's analogous to the quadruple somersault ringling brothers done by miguel vasquez in 1982.
so please bear with us, we'll have problems from time to time, but we have an excellent team of techies, i know, because i can't understand anything they say. and it is now my pleasure to introduce our interview ir, roger cohen, the op ed columnist for the "new york times." thank you. [applause] >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. so we're going to rely on much maligned technology to try and bring this about. and ignore who ever may or may not be listening. i think it's fair to say that in the media landscape there is before and after edward snowden, his revelations about global n.s.a. data vacuuming, backed with concrete evidence, the
feeling, i think, that many of us have had since 9/11 that something had gotten seriously skewed in the appropriate balance between national security and press freedom, the state, the surveillance state to some, and civil liberties. and as a result of this, edward snowden is a rock star to some. to others of course he is a tray for. a traitor. here today by skype we have the three journalists who were entrusted by snowden, chosen by snowden to be the recipients of top secret n.s.a. archives. here with us are an award winning documentary filmmaker and journalist, finishing a trilogy of movies on the post 9/11 america and this last
movie focuses on snowden. and along with glenn greenwald she traveled to hong kong last may to interview snowden. bart gellman is a senior fellow at the century foundation, author and pulitzer prize winning reporter over many years on national security issues. glenn greenwald is an investigative journalist, author, and columnist now at first look media which is the new journalistic venture, which as you know is backed by the ebay founder. he's also a former constitutional and civil rights lawyer. hi, everyone. the most obvious fact about the three of you right now is that you are not here.
and i remember glenn when i met you in rio, you saying that there was a nontrivial chance that if you traveled to the united states you would be arrested. so could i begin by asking you if you still feel that way and why you do? >> i feel that way even more now since you were here, which i don't recall exactly when it was, but it was a couple months ago, there have been other episodes where international security officials have made it clear that they view what we're doing as being not just improper or dangerous but actually criminal. james clapboard the senior national security official in the u.s. government has been running around calling the reporters who work on this story accomplices, perpetrating the term. the house of the intelligence committee said that he thought that what i was doing in particular was criminality and thievery. he propounded this theory that
those of us freelancing around the world have been selling documents, which is what a lot of people have been doing for decades. so i think there's been an attempt to create these theories that could criminalize the journalism that we're doing. but as i said to you back then and i believe more so now, i think it would be wrong to allow that kind of intimidation to prevent us from doing what we have the right to do, including returning to the country we're citizens in. i do still think it's a nontrivial risk. i'm sure there are factions that don't want that on the legacy. so my belief is still that they would do the right thing. >> so are you going to come back? >> yes, definitely. i mean it's inevitable that i will, we're still figuring out exactly when that will be. obviously we were honored, the
three of us, there was a ceremony on april 11 that will be an interesting opportunity to go back to. there's other opportunities like that that we're still figuring out. but certainly at some point relatively soon i intend to have the proposition that the united states guarantees press freedom through the constitution. >> laura, you've been much harassed at airports and elsewhere over several years, and i'm sure you share some of the same concerns and maybe you could tell us also how you feel about coming back. but let me add in question. edward snowden appeared recently via skype at south by southwest, with a backdrop of the american constitution. is mr. snowden an american patriot, in your view? >> thank you for having me and for having this event, it's great to be here with my
colleagues. let me take this in stages, so in terms of coming back, i mean it's been well documented that i've, across from the border that i've been sought for several years, for things like having my notebooks copied and computers confiscated. actually i'm not worried that i'd be arrested, i was worried that they would subpoena me or take my electronics, so i don't think it's trivial, and it's real. yes i will come back for sure and right now i made the choice to stay out of the country for source protection reasons. as much as journalists, the real topic, the urgency of what we need to do is talk about the resources it takes to bring information forward.
in that context, we put our lives on the line to reveal illegal government spying perhaps or spying programs that were being done in secret, and that were collecting, that could have entire countries' information. so i think he put his life on the line and i think we all owe a debt of gratitude to him. >> bud, are there legitimate government secrets? >> sure there are. if i could just step back for a second and talk about the legal environment, it is significant that director used the word accomplices, that the inspector general of the united states uses the word agent in reference to us reporters. since those are terms that have criminal law implications. but we've had the legal framework, and the in the espionage act of 97 years ago
with which a government could prosecute journalists. and it's been a political culture that's created the barriers to that. the question is whether, what was clearly a debate inside the u.s. government is going to begin to shift that. as far as secrets, sure, i think there are legitimate national security secrets. i think the government is charged with protecting security of its people against external threats. and the question is whether that concept is -- the question is whether the boundaries will be drawn by the people to some extent at the level of principle, that the government represents, or whether the government gets to do all on its own in secret. >> do you systematically run by the government response on these stories you've done on the snowden revelations or other stories about the n.s.a.?
do you feel that is still an essential part of what we do as journalists? >> i talked to the subject of my stories about every story and always have in my career, and certainly a national security story, which i spend most of my years reporting on, i've done the same. so there are times when i'm confident, i understand what the documents say and what my independent reporters say, and i tell them what the story is going to be, sometimes you learn things, often i do. every now and again i discover that something i thought i knew might not be right, i have to go back to the drawing board. and sure, it's an opportunity for them to say we would ask you not to publish this or that, for the following reasons. first of all, my sense is that we need to require them to stipulate the authenticity and the truthfulness of the fact before we have that conversation.
and second of all i'd like to know the reason. and i and more importantly the executive editor of the washington post toes have to be persuaded that there actually would be damage, that is meaningful that outweighs the public end of the story. >> do you feel the same way, glenn? >> i think in all of the n.s.a. reporting that i've done, i haven't, but people with whom i have worked, editors, have gone to the n.s.a. the same way as bart said they would go to anybody else and say this is what we intend to report about you, what is your comment, i think it would be ridiculous not to do that. why as a journalist would you want less information rather than more. i have though been critical in the past of the process where by journalists spent lots of time sort of collaborating with the
government and almost negotiating what it is that can and can't be published. i think he often spent months with senior officials talking about the stories he wants to publish. that to me seems like we're crossing a line between an adversarial press and one that becomes collaborative where you put the government on your editorial board. i don't think that the "washington post" and other papers have done any of that, but i think there have been cases in the past, and i do think that newspapers erred on the side of surpressing information, the most infamous case being the "new york times" holding onto the bush n.s.a. wash eavesdropping story for 15 months and finally publishing because it was about to be published in a book. so in general i think that
process is important legally, lawyers will tell you that you give the government an tub to have their input. but i think it's really important that it not become a means by which the government can overly influence the reporting. and in the case of the stories i worked on, 99.5% of the time when the government said we don't think you should publish that, those views have been disregarded and we published it anyway because they didn't have any convincing rationale. >> glenn, there's a strong feeling among some people that edward snowden has threatened the security of the united states, that he took an oath and then reneged on it. and there have been stories since his revelations revealing n.s.a. intercepts of transmissions between taliban fighters or intercepts of e-mail recording -- regarding intelligence assessment on iran. that's not domestic surveillance, it's not spying on
allies. it's what intelligence services all around the world do. so how is that illegal or immoral, and how is it not damaging to the united states of america? >> well two things about that. first of all the oath that snowden took is actually an oath that a member of the intelligence community through the constitution and he -- i think it's really important to understand the process that he used to do this as a book. to get it so distorted. edward snowden has not published a single document in the last nine months. >> but you have. >> i have. bart has, laura has. dozens of others reporters have. >> what's the difference? >> because he did not think that he should be in a position to decide which documents ought to be published and which ones
ought to be suppressed. he came to well established well regarded newspapers and asked the journalists in those institutions within he was working to make those judgments about what is in the public interest to publish and what is not. specifically a lot of what is giving the u.s. for back ground, for contact, for understanding, but i don't think all of this should be published, if i just wanted all this published i wouldn't need you, i could just upload it through the internet myself. so stories about things like, think of a story that has been published that shouldn't be, i think the question about why was this publish ought to be posed to the journalist who decided to publish it and not necessarily to snowden. but i will say that things that countries do to one another are incredibly newsworthy. the "new york times" reported that the israelis and the americans were engaged in cyber warfare against the iranians
using sophisticated viruses. >> glenn, do you in your head draw a line somewhere between newsworthy and endangering? >> sure, and the reason why nine or 10 months into the story we published many hundreds of top secret documents but not all the ones in our possession is because we're constantly engaged as our source demand that we do in that analytical process. to avoid harming innocent people. and i think we've done a very good job of that, and the proof is that there is zero evidence, zero, not a little bit, but zero that a single story with snowden material has harmed any individual or endangered national security. all we get are the very familiar vague scripted rituals that government officials always use, but nothing specific or concrete about any harm being done.
>> laura, please feel free to jump in on any of that that you'd like to. but i'd also like to ask but the question you raised and i know it's very dear to your heart, of how our sources to be protected, the obama administration which was earlier described as the most hostile to the free free ever, has embarked on a very aggressive antileak campaign targeting leakers, and the technology is there to trace them. so going forward, what's to be done about that? >> sure. that's why i thought we were gathered here today, and i would love to talk about those issues. i think first of all our job as journalists are to protect sources and that we have to do that. that we know from the experience we can use in james rise' case and james rosen that the government is using technology to find out who terrorists are
talking to. so we have an obligation to use means to protect our sources. and not only that, i think that mainstream news organizations also need to learn about how to use these tools if they actually want to get sources to come to them. one of the things that's been most shocking to me is the lack of technological awareness among news organizations in terms of using basic things like encryption, which are not that complicated to use if you want to protect your communication, and there are tools we use every day when we log into our bank account, we're using encryption, and for journalists to have tools so they can speak privately to sources. >> but laura, the most familiar accusation for any foreign correspondent certainly in a sense tough situation like a war is that you're not a journalist, you're a spy.
and if we start using encryption or even elaborate encryption, somebody that just going to reenforce the perception of those who might be detaining you that in fact you're an agent, you're not a journalist? >> well, we use encryption every day when you connect to the internet. i think a result of this is that encryption will be easier to use. i think that's going to become you big which us the, because people do expect privacy. the e-mail is not meant for the government, it's to their friend, and i think there will be repercussions. now that we learn what the government decembering with our information. so i don't think that will
endanger or flag people. i think we need more encryption. >> bart, you wanted to jump in? >> yes, i do. it's a cartoon issue that the n.s.a. wants to know everything about everybody, that's not accurate. it wants to be able to know anything about anybody. and so it regards encryption as a threat, specifically uses the word threat when it talks about encryption products, antivirus products, anonymity products. it acknowledges no realm, no state in human communications which is prepared to be denied access to. it wants all of your secrets, it wants anybody that it wants. the problem is that does include journalists in a number of cases, not only in the n.s.a., but the u.s. in general.
that's because leaks, which by definition are anything that the government is doing that it does not have a press conference about, the counterintelligence threat, having intelligence is one of the principal missions of the u.s. intelligence committee. when you start regarding journalists as a counter intelligence threat and you do open up all of the criminal most extreme kinds of surveillance tools become available to you, and you start using that sort of technology, and also i completely agree with laura about the necessity of learning the products, and that includes encryption and anonymity which makes it hard to tell who is talking to whom, there are some problems that can't be solved that way. and the one that comes to mind is first contact problem, which is to say almost all the sources
i've developed over the years have been people i've met, say, in iraq, i ran into a group of military folks looking for weapons of mass destruction. or at a promotion ceremony in washington. and maybe that leads to a conversation or a coffee or a phone calm. so for the first five, 10 conversations it's all normal, and gradually you develop a relationship of trust and interest, and you start straying closer to the line at which they are not supposed to be talking because their bosses don't want to talk about that subject in public. by then you've got a long digital trail to connect to that person. i would say edward snowden is one of a very small has beenful of people in my entire career whose very first contact with me through laura was entirely nonen crypted.
there is some progress here. there's a terrific program, a terrific technology that is beg developed at the freedom of press foundation called secure drop, which makes it easier to make a first contact with a reporter through anonymous and encrypted techniques, but we have a long way to go on that. >> sounds like maybe we should be learning some different things at journalism schools these days. encryption? >> the basic technology of privacy is encryption and anonymity. >> i find, on the government's side that we won't need to subpoena journalists any more because we know exactly who they are talking to anyway.
do you think that describes the state of affairs, glenn? >> yes, definitely. i mean, i think that there's been a lot of attention paid to the threat, to the fourth amendment and by systems in which there is surveillance, by which i mean what bart said, not that every person's every wore is being monitored, but is susceptible to being monitored. everybody from or well to -- to, it's the campaign ability to surveil. so there's a lot of attention paid to -- how do we as human beings adapt our behavior in a world in which you can't be certain that what we're saying and doing is actually being monitored and what are the implications for our freedom. but there's very little attention paid to the
implications for the first amendment, in particular the freedom of the press, which is how do you engage in free journalism, how do you have a free press if the government is able to know every person who is communicating with you and with, how can journalism be done that way or how can attorneys investigate important legal issues on behalf of their clients. or how can informants talk to human rights organizations and to do so with the security that they're not willing to be exposed of having implications for a wide range of -- i think that is critical. encryption is vital, but it doesn't actually shield meta data. it shields content. anonymity tools, you can shield some parts of melta data, but it's a real threat to press
freedom. when people like jane mayer warn that investigative journalism is coming to a stab still in the united states because of what the u.s. government has been doing, they don't mean the journalists in prison, they mean that that's become unnecessary to do that because the climate of fear that is created by source prosecution, by threatening journalists and by surveillance makes it almost impossible for people to communicate with one another. president putin has just invitedded and then an ex-ed -- invaded and annexed crime yea. there's even talk misplaced in my view of a new cold war. how worried should we be that mr. snowden is vulnerable to the
russian intelligence services in this tense situation between the two countries. >> at the time he arrived in russia the united states government canceled his passport, making him for travel purposes a stateless person. putin had a press conference at one point that's been forgotten, i think, in which he made fun of u.s. intelligence services and said what kind of trade is it.
edward snowden is under you know international asylum in russia to criticize the u.s. as far as the security threat, he deliberately did not break, not only did he not bring any of the documents with him to russia, to the purpose of making sure that he could not be compelled to disclose them, he didn't break any means of obtaining those documents and i don't think i should go any further into that. so his intentions, which was quite effective, was to make sure that he could not be forced to disclose it. so he told, said in a letter even under torture i can't give the russians, he meant i
literally can't produce it. >> thank you. just that one statement that you referenced has been so widely distort bid so many people for so long now, the idea that -- >> how can you distort a statement like that? it says what it says. >> i'm about to plain to you how, as the way you just did actually. >> i just read it. >> i know, but i'm as i'm sure you know, you can take a sentence out of context and distort its meaning. he wasn't standing up and praising russia in general as a defender of human rights, any more than when somebody is granted asylum by the united states. it doesn't mean that they are praising guantanamo and the invasion of iraq and all the other things the government has done. he was simply saying in this particular case thank you for
granting me asylum from persecution i would face at home and for defending my particular human rights. but i always think the question -- >> do you think he feels uncomfortable in russia right now? >> i'm going to let him speak for himself on those questions. but i think for us as journalists, it's convenient, i mean, bart is right about the recounting of events and how he's in russia because the u.s. blocked him from leaving, not only did they take his passport but they prevented cuba and other countries from giving him safe transport. they demonize him by saying he's in russia. to me the bigger question is why did somebody who comes forward with information that exposes programs that our own court said is illegal and unconstitutional, feel a need to flee in order to escape being put into prison, several deck a the prison, that to me is a much more substantive
question than trying to figure out the details of whether snowden should be standing up and holding a press conference on something he knows nothing about such as crimea. i think the pressing question is why does he feel the knee to flee after watching the parade of whistle blowers that have been put in prison for a long time for blowing the is whistle on improper government conduct. >> people can judge for themselves what they think of snowden, his motives, the quality, it's a legitimate question. but i'm always baffled when people, i'm not saying, when people pretty much only want to talk about no den, whether he's right and wrong and his personality, rather than the big issue that we're here today to talk about, which is the conduct of the u.s. government. >> glenn, do you worry sometimes that in your determination to be adversarial to the u.s. government you're insufficiently adversarial to some other
governments around the world? >> no, i don't ever worry about that. [laughter] my principal role as citizen of the united states to hold my own government accountable for the bad acts that it does. i think that good reporting means you present all facts including what other governments are doing. but the reason we are have a first amendment and a free press is not because we need american journalists to criticize government several thousand miles across the world. it's to make sure that the people who exercise power within our own country aren't abusing that power. so that's my focus, and i think we need a press adversarial to the u.s. government, at least as much as we need people reporting on things around the world. >> laura, i'm sitting here in the "new york times" building bastion of the mainstream media. glenn and you too have been pretty critical of establishment
journalists. what do you have against us? >> well, let me correct a few things, i've actually published a few things at the "new york times." >> i know that. >> i published a short documentary about guantanamo, one about n.s.a. surveillance. and i was very happy that the times published that, and -- >> still there's a feel that -- >> let's face it, there are people who tow the line and we've seen that. withholding of jim risen's story for a year. it's very hard to justify, or not using the wore torture when we were torturing people for many years. why didn't the "new york times" deal with torture, i don't think it's a proud moment for journalism, and i don't think
the invasion of iraq is a proud moment for journalism. but there was great journalism done about the war in iraq and about torture, in the "new york times" and the "washington post" and the new yorker. so there always be journalists who will try to get to the truth. but there will also be the fact that large institutions that have relationships with governments are going to, you know, be persuaded by what the government thinks can and should be public. and i think the fact that the n.s.a. is now spying on congress and not releasing a report on torture, as u.s. citizens we should be ashamed. this is not a proud moment. so i don't think it's particularly radical or outsider to find these things objectionable. what i think is radical is that we're spying on congress or spying on entire countries and we're doing all this in secret. those things i think should be
part of a public discourse. so i don't fell that i'm, i feel what we're doing as citizens and what our obligation to do if we have a voice, if we have skill sets that can contribute to greater understanding. so that's our job. >> more than radical, it's unconscionable. do you think, as a result of your extraordinary work, all three of you, laura, do you feel that the tide is turning in some way, that this great post 9/11 disorientation, this abuse of power and technology, do you think the awareness is growing of what went wrong and the great power of american society, or one of its great powers, it's its ability historically to correct course, to change. do you think that's happening? with the new federal shield law
proposals, other things. >> right, i don't think that is actually going to
signature until a change. i think that that's, the pendulum shifts back, but it's been a long time that it's been swinging in one direction. so why is guantanamo still open? it's a national shame that it's still open. that we have a prison where people are being held without being charged of a crime. so i am hopeful that there would be a corrective when the obama administration came in you, but that hasn't happened. i do think that, the thing that has been positive in terms of disclosures is it's reawakened an adversarial press, and the people have been shocked that these things, these decisions
about surveillance are being made completely in secret, completely without public debate. and that there does seem to be some kind of an awakening, but i wouldn't call it a shift of the pendulum. >> bart -- sorry, go ahead. >> in
the same vein, the crucial thing that's happened here is an increase in transparency. obviously information is power. secrecy is very powerful especially when coupled with surveillance. because of this transparency you've seen not only journalism building on itself, but all kind of other things in the private sector, you have now for the first time in my memory a real marketplace for privacy. there were small outposts of that before, but they were boutiques. you now have large companies competing to demonstrate to
consumers because consumers are worried about their privacy, the because these revelations. as a result of some of the reporting encrypted all the traffic between yahoo, encryption by default between its computers and
now computers have now promised that it will encrypt all of it by last january. so it has done so. in the legal field, you have lawyers challenging whether some of these programs violate a statute or the constitution, which was thrown out before on grounds that it plaintiff could not prove they had been personally affected. now they are effective. so the lawsuits and we will find
out which of these programs are constitutional and which are not. u.s. advocacy has changed, u.s. members of congress who happily went along with these programs are now hearing from constituents that are changing their views, and all of the mechanisms of accountability are showing a political and civil society are looking at this. and then we get to decide collectively where we are looking at this. i agree with all that, but i also think that one of the most interesting aspects about what has changed is just the way people think about all of these issues, not just in the united states but around the world. one of the most underappreciated parts of the story was how global it was. ,ou look at the nsa in 2005 involving verizon, sprint, at&t, those are all companies.
google, yahoo!, skype, and the internet generally, talking about the principles globally of communication. we have done reporting in all these countries all over the world. i think the political discourse in so many countries around the world about how the united states is perceived, whether the value of privacy in the digital , theallowing the dangers role of journalism and the media need to be powerful factors. once you start impacting consciousness that way and shifting it a little bit, i don't think the primary change is going to come from legislation that the u.s. government introduces to limit itself. i think it will come from significant, per frown shifts in how people around the world -- profound shifts in people around the world think about these revelations. they impact hundreds of millions of people around the world. >> that is encouraging.
maybe american reinvention is alive and well. we're getting towards the end of our time. i make i would like to ask all three of you briefly to say, try to leap forward in your mind a decade or two and say how you think mr. snowden will be remembered in american and global history. i know daniel ellsberg, something different, starting with you perhaps, laura. how will he be recalled in your view? think we are at a crossroads in terms of how we decide to treat cases of privacy and i think you will be revered as a person who created a talking point. if we find ourselves in a more orwellian universe and a decade or find ourselves with more freedom of communication, i think everybody will look back
at this moment and say that he at least gave us an option of making these choices. >> glenn? >> i think daniel ellsberg is the most constructive example. because in modern times, he is considered, widely to be a rogue. if you point out he was a defender of edward snowden, almost everybody will try to distinguish the two. if you don't look at how daniel ellsberg is talked about a 1971 and 1972, the court, the government, the media, by most americans, you would talk about him in the same terms as edward snowden. over time he was vindicated. i think history still appreciated the information he let us know about what the government was doing. all that died away and we realized he engaged in an incredibly heroic self-sacrifice he did not need to do for the public good, and i am convinced
there is a fight between security and accountability. when you get to work in secret, a perfectlyas done, good motive of defending the country, and you use every tool available to you. but by doing so, by doing so in secret, you are removing the ability of the people that you are protecting to respect their boundaries. what snowden has done is allow us collectively to make that decision. >> thank you all very much. we seem to have lost glenn at the last minute. i hope it is nothing sinister. [laughter] but anyway, thank you very much. thank you laura, thank you glenn, if you can hear us, thank you, bart. [applause] >> next, the louisiana republican state senator elbert guillory rates the obama administration. after that, the united negro college fund president michael
lomax on the future of his organization. then the president and mrs. obama welcome olympians to the white house. journal"xt "washington business and finance writer looks at the practice of high-frequency trading, which according to the attorney general eric holder consists of financial brokers and rating firms using advanced computer algorithms and ultra high-speed data networks to execute trades. and brooking institution saturday's elections in afghanistan. and we will take your calls and join the conversation by facebook and twitter. "washington journal," live at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. let's take a case like hsbc, which got a $1.9 billion settlement levied at them i think a year ago. that, part of it was the
deferred prosecution agreement for hsbc. they admitted they had laundered for drugs $850 million cartels. not only did they commit minor financial infractions, technical infractions, we are talking about an organization that was operating at the top of the legal narcotics pyramid. this is a major criminal enterprise, and they admitted it . and if they did not find any evidence to put those people in jail, that's on them. that's a failure of the regulatory system. if you have somebody you know is guilty, who has admitted they in leaguey, who are with truly dangerous and violent people and helping them out with the worst kinds of behavior that a bank could be involved with, and nobody does a single thing to be in jail? that's outrageous, but it's even
more outrageous when you look at it in comparison with who goes to jail in america, and that is people who who are at the very bottom of the illegal trade pyramid, the consumers, people who are caught in possession of drugs, who are caught selling dime bags on the corner. they are the people who go to jail for real-time, five years, 10 years at the same time we are letting hsbc off with a total walk. nobody pays any individual penalty in that case. divide"atest "the explores injustice in america, sunday night at 8:00. next, a discussion about the obama administration and the american dream. elbert guillory is a republican member of the louisiana state senate. he switched to the democratic party in 2007 and went back to being republican in 2013. he is the first african-american
republican in the louisiana legislature since the reconstruction era. he spoke at the annual leadership program of the rockies retreat, a colorado institute that provides economic and political research training. us is 45 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] an honor to introduce our next speaker, who made a bold political move, switching his party, his affiliation, as a sitting state senator, from democrat to republican. senator elbert guillory defended his party transformation in an inspirational youtube video that received over one million viewers. those, by the way. i watched it. i was stunned and moved. it was brilliantly done. i don't forward a lot of things on facebook, but this one i did send to everyone. it was very powerful.
his message in the video focused on putting principles before quick results and freedom above all else. senator guillory became active in the civil rights movement in the 1950's before john dingell before joining the united states navy. he graduated from rutgers law school. if you do not see the youtube video, you'll get a flavor of it right now. it is and gentlemen, please welcome senator elbert guillory with a speech entitled "american dream report card." [applause] >> good morning, colorado. it's great to be back in colorado. i first stepped onto colorado soil when i was a young law student and young skier. the last time i was here, i then-wife's and my then-eight-year-old daughter and i climbed a mountain.
i tried to explain to her on the earlier ski trip that i had saved a young man's life in a ski accident, and he turned out to be the governor's son, so he named mount elbert after me. [laughter] she was 8. she said, "oh, dad." i couldn't sell that to her. speaking of young people, as i was coming in this morning, i noticed a lot of you young folk who cut your teeth on powerpoint presentations looking at me and saying to yourselves, "that old geezer will not have any kind of powerpoint." i'm going to for you today. last night a lot of people asked about my hometown. is it in louisiana, because they had not seen it or heard of it. so i brought a powerpoint map of
the state of louisiana with me today, and i will present it to you now. let me just get it. powerpoint map of the state of louisiana. [laughter] [applause] as you can see, new orleans is clearly outlined over here. lake charles, right here next to the texas line. this is mississippi, arkansas here. and right here is my town. this is the heart of cajun country. we are the descendents of the cajuns who were expelled from canada many years ago. names like guillory and allodeau and font know originate in this area. and i welcome you to upper luces. let me just put my powerpoint away, please.
[laughter] [applause] i would like to tell you just a little bit about my family. six yearsd at 102, ago. he was an educator, among many, many other things, but a very serious educator. my mom died two months ago at 10 4. she spent 44 years as an educator and teacher and principal. and as you know, i spent one year at rutgers law school, teaching. so education, teaching is an important part of our family and an important part of what we do. today, i would like to do what teachers do, and that is to analyze and grade the performance of our president's
in one aspect, and that is the american dream. thousands of people every day try to get into this country because they want to live the american dream. how is it working for us who are here? is it being protected? is it being uplifted, or not? so why will present to you a report card -- i will present you a report card of the mayor can dream. let's take justice, for example. this is the first of the subjects that we would grade this administration in. man months ago, a young named trayvon martin was killed , and the president stepped right up and said, "i demand justice for trayvon martin," and he said that trayvon look like his sons would
look like if he had sons. so he sent people from the justice department down to florida to ensure that trayvon martin receive justice. and i watch that. a few months later, a young australian student was killed. you probably don't know his name. it's christopher lane. christopher lane was killed, and christopher looked just like my sons. i have sons. he is a little paler than my sons, but he has two arms and two legs. he has two eyes and a nose and a heart, just like my sons have. and so i waited. [applause] i waited to hear the president say, "i demand justice for christopher lane." and i waited, and i have yet to hear that same
passion and fervor. and the only conclusion i can justicem that is that hinges on the color of one's skin. when the value of life is dependent upon this thin little in, weeter of melon are in deep trouble, we are a nation deeply divided, and we have to deal with the president for his failure to protect justice an f. [applause] well, the american dream is really dependent on three things. safety, jobs, education. let's look at jobs first.
this administration has created hundreds of thousands of new built thousands of miles of roads and bridges, built new civic projects. the only problem is that he has done that in foreign lands, while our roads and bridges our familieslle remain unemployed, their families go to the food stamp lines. for failure to protect jobs, provide jobs in america, mr. president, you have earned an f. [applause] let's look at education. childana is the poster for this administration's session on education. louisiana schools in
are poorly performing schools. we have addressed that, "we" being the government and legislature, we have addressed that in three basic ways. we have work to uplift the public school system. we have also created probably the nation's best network of charter schools. and we created a voucher program . [applause] students. 8000. 90% minority. poor, 100% in the poorest performing schools in louisiana, some of the poorest performing schools in america. you know i'm a child of the civil rights movement. in the 1960's, someone wearing tobacco-stained sheets crawled out of the backwoods of
louisiana and stood in the schoolhouse doors to prevent children from getting education, to prevent access to those school houses in louisiana. today, thugs wearing brooks brothers suits crawl around the halls of government and crawl out of.c., the justice department, and come to louisiana and stand in the doorways and prevent little louisianans from getting an education. [applause] thugs! z, mr. i have to will ward president, for your failure to support and send 8000 little taking them out of
private schools, out of public schools, out of charter schools and sending them back into the worst-performing schools around. bad job, mr. president. america has been a godly country from day one, from day one, quite literally. america and god. in god, we trust. one nation under god. so how are we faring with respect to prayer? during the recent government shutdown catholic priests were ordered not to say mass and not to serve communion to our military soldiers. they were ordered not to. by this administration. that is correct. that is absolutely correct. and christian organizations today are listed as terrorist